This post is long overdue but I am not even sure that I will be able to sit here and write it now. Most of you(all 1 or 2 that read) know that my sweet, wonderful daddy has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wow...where did that come from. Never in all my thoughts of daddy growing older and eventually leaving us did I ever dream that he would have cancer. There just is not hardly any history of cancer in our family. Heart disease..yes, high blood pressure..yes, strokes...yes, diabetes..yes...but not cancer. And stranger still is that when we found out two weeks ago it had already spread to his lungs and brain. We still do not know where the primary source is. So very quickly we have had to deal with the realization that my daddy will not be with us much longer, maybe 1 to 3 months. He is now a resident at Adams County Nursing Center in the same room with my mama. It is very strange to be there with both of them and neither of them realizing who the other is, but somehow it is also very right. Daddy is on pain medicine now that is helping him to rest. When he is awake he recognizes some of the family, but not all and he talks out of his head a lot. This has forced my sister Becky and I to talk about funeral plans. We had discussed this with daddy before and have some notes written down about what he wanted. He has always been very claustrophobic and has said through the years that he does not want to be buried. He asked to be cremated and for us to spread his ashes in the ocean...being the Navy man he is... so that is what we will do. Of course we will have a memorial service first so that all the people who's lives he has touched can pay their respects. By the world's standards my daddy is not a rich man, but by what really counts in this ole world, he is the richest man I know! Daddy is kind, generous, caring, loyal, honest, and a loving man. He would give the shirt off of his back to anyone else in need and has many times! He was a perfect example of a loving husband to my mother and a loving father to me and Becky. His smile and beautiful blue eyes could light up a room and my heart. Being in his lap, even long after I was grown and had children of my own, was the safest place on earth. Not only was he a great example for his family, his influence on young boys that he coached in Little League baseball was one of kindness and understanding. I cannot count the times someone has said to me, "your dad was my little league coach, he is such a nice man!" Daddy worked with lots of people through out his life and many of them have told us what an honest, hardworking, loyal employee and employer he was. Mama and daddy were also close friends to many people. They loved to get together and cook fish, play cards, and just have a good time. Many of these people and their children have been our life long friends and they all love my daddy...because he loved them! I can't even begin to tell you the joy that he has brought to his granddaughters and great grandchildren and the joy they have brought to him. What a blessing that he has been able to have a real relationship with all of them. Daddy never talked much about his relationship with God, but it was very evident in the way he lived his life. He grew up in a Christian family and was saved as a young boy and as I thank God for all that my daddy is, I thank Him for this most of all...because I know that when daddy breathes his last breath on this earth his very next will be in the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that we will see him again!!!
. 35 years ago today I walked down the aisle in Parkway Baptist Church on my daddy's arm and married the love of my life. Daddy said to me as we entered the back of the church, "you can still back out if your want to." I can honestly say that there has not once been a time in the last 35 years that I have wished I had said, "okay daddy, let's get out of here!" Yes, there have been ups and downs, yes, there have been fights, yes, there have been disappointments, but through it all God has blessed me beyond measure. Bill and I were very young when we married, I was 19 and he turned 19 two days after our wedding. I was very surprised that my mama and daddy did not try to talk us into waiting a few years, but as I think back I am sure it was because they had been through such heartache when they married. My mother's parents were totally against her marrying and were not even present at the wedding. It did not take them long to discover what a wonderful, kind, loving man my daddy is though. Anyway, back to Bill and I. We met in the fall of 1973 at good ole Copiah Lincoln Jr College in Wesson. It was my sophomore year as a cheerleader and he was a freshman football player. We met in August, but our first date was not until October for the Homecoming dance. Things progressed and the next thing I knew it was May. I had graduated from CoLin and was back at home and Bill was spending the summer working in Brookhaven. He would call me every night. Now by this time, we had discussed getting married, possible the next summer or the one after that. One night on the phone, he tells me that he just cannot wait and we need to go ahead and get married. I guess I said okay but I really do not remember what I said. I do know he instructed me to get my daddy on the phone so he could ask him permission. What on earth was he thinking??? I did put daddy on the phone and then mama and before I blinked my eyes I was engaged and we were planning an August wedding! I tell people all the time that it is a good thing God knew what He was doing because we sure did not! We married on August 3, 1974 after knowing each other almost one year and dating for 10 months!
There are many, many things that I could tell you about my husband. He has the most integrity of any man I know, he is honest, hardworking, loyal, and trustworthy. He is also kind, generous, caring, and loving. He is tremendously funny, although some people never see that side of him. His relationship with God is obvious, he lives his life desiring to be more Christ like each day. And he's not bad looking either! I admire and love all of these things about him! There is one more thing that he is that I have received tremendous joy from and that is the daddy he is. I am SO very thankful that he is the father of my children. Oh my goodness, Bill Salters loves his girls! Can you imagine a man who has hunted, played football and every other sport, and done every other thing that men and boys do, having not one, not two, but three little girls? He has never acted disappointed about not having a boy.. .and now as a grandfather God has given him three boys and two more girls and a ? on the way! He is the best example of a loving father that I know. He loves his girls...No Matter What.. to borrow a phrase from our preacher, Jason Meyer. His love for them and his entire family and friends, for that matter, is unconditional. The girls learned at a very young age that no matter what they did or said their daddy(and their mama!) loves them. They were not only told this over and over, they were shown it by his reaction when they disobeyed and got into trouble. He would certainly discipline them for the action, but it was always done with love and with explanation. Not only does he love them unconditionally, he loved and still loves being with them. When he got home in the afternoons the first thing he did was to love on his girls and play with them a while. He now loves when they come home to visit and still has such a good time with them. Of course, now he also loves that they bring our precious grandchildren when they come home!
Please do not get that idea that Bill is perfect, we all know that none of us are. But, he is exactly what I believe God calls us to be... a Godly example by the way he lives.. to his wife, his children, his grandchildren,all of his family and friends. On our 25th anniversary, we renewed our vows and I had Bro. Bart read a story entitled, "Laughter in the walls." I won't quote it all, but it is the story of a family and the rooms in the house they lived in and what those rooms had been used for. At the end of the story, the children are all grown and gone and the husband and wife are left alone in the empty nest... and so they sit back, enjoy each other's company and listen ... to the laughter in the walls....Bill and I are so blessed to be doing just that and my prayer for any of you reading this is that you will live your life doing what God has called you to and that you can sit back one day and listen to the "laughter in the walls."
We give God the glory and the praise for our 35 years together and ask Him to bless us with many more